By National Geographic Traveller Food. Published on 13th February 2019
IRELAND: BOYNE VALLEY
Less than an hour north of Dublin lies a cluster of castles, cairns, high crosses and 5,000-year-old passage tombs. While its heritage hits are well-known, the Boyne Valley’s sprouting food scene is a more recent development. From craft beer and cider to fresh seafood and unexpected treats such as Irish smoked garlic and blue cheese, there’s a growing sense of place on the plate.
Essential stops: After a bracing walk around Clogherhead, drop into Fishermans Catch, just a stone’s throw from the fishing boats, for a bowl of chowder. A little further south, Eastern Seaboard in Drogheda offers sizzling takes on local produce, or go north for fresh oysters, crab claws and hake with purple heritage potatoes at the Glyde Inn. Inland, swing by Slane Castle for a tour of its whiskey distillery.
Alternative: Dotted around the karst landscape of coastal Burren National Park in County Clare, you’ll find a surprising food scene that spans everything from hand-smoked Atlantic salmon to stoneground chocolate. Pol Ó Conghaile
SOUTH AUSTRALIA: MCLAREN VALE
Some of Australia’s finest wines are made in the McLaren Vale, just south of Adelaide, and you won’t go hungry there either. The fertile Fleurieu Peninsula is home to a wealth of fruit and veg, from strawberries to chillies. Plus there are cheeses, lamb, fish from the Gulf St Vincent and freshwater crustaceans such as yabbies.
Essential stops: Willunga Farmers Market is the place to be on Saturdays. As for restaurants, The General Wine Bar & Restaurant in McLaren Flat is a casual spot with links to two wineries. At Oliver’s Taranga Vineyard, the ‘Porchetta Parties’ — four courses, including porchetta on a spit, plus wine — are unmissable. Then there’s the d’Arenberg Cube: a crazy structure amid the vines of d’Arenberg winery. The views from here are spectacular, but the estate’s more traditional restaurant, d’Arry’s Verandah, gets my vote for its artfully assembled dishes.
Alternative: The Barossa Valley is another fantastic wine region within an hour’s drive north of Adelaide. Nina Caplan
SPAIN: SAN SEBASTIAN
Never mind tapas. The Basque Country is all about pintxos: skewered nibbles, amuse-bouches and bruschetta-style bites, washed down with a caña (small beer), local cider or wine. The best bars offer specialties such as Gildas (big, buttery olives skewered with local guindilla peppers and anchovies), croquettes and spider-crab tartlets. Grab a seat or scoff at the counter, or head out on a txikiteo (pintxo crawl), during which you can pick your way from one bar to the next. San Sebastián isn’t all casual bites, however; the city has no fewer than 18 Michelin stars.
Essential stops: Don’t miss the Gildas or tartlets at Ganbara, fresh anchovies at Bar Txepetxa or a fix of artichokes with jamón and salsa at Casa Urola. If you wish to splash out, book well in advance for Mugaritz or Arzak, both fixtures on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list. The latter’s tasting menu features dishes such as seafood served on a tablet playing images (and audio) of the sea; afterwards, ask to see the research lab upstairs.
Alternative: Medieval Girona is the perfect backdrop for a Catalan culinary adventure. From the three-Michelin-starred El Celler de Can Roca to casual, but incredibly moreish, dishes such as paella or cream-filled xuixo pastries, it’s a gastronome’s delight. POC
For the full article: NatGeo Traveler UK